It’s hard to make Pikachu look anything less than adorable, but Mister Donut has found a way…several ways, in fact.

Pikachu is supposed to be cute. Everyone knows this, right? A Pikachu that isn’t cute is about as pointless, and disturbing, as a toilet that doesn’t flush.

And yet, the beloved Pokémon mascot has fallen into a bit of a cuteness slump this week. Yesterday we got our first look at the Ryan Reynolds-voiced CG Pikachu from the upcoming live-action Pokémon movie, which replaces the famous Pocket Monsters smooth and fluffy coat with shaggy long-haired fur, and now comes word of another Pikachu incarnation that’s been deemed so uncute that it’s being pulled from the market.

Mister Donut, Japan’s most popular donut chain, recently unveiled a special Pikachu donut. Advance sales started at select locations on November 9, a week ahead of their official, nationwide on-sale date, and we even got to try one for ourselves.

▼ Our Mister Donut Pikachu donut

However, while some customers’ donuts looked as charming as ours did…

…some people who ordered the Pikachu donut were given something that was less a Pokémon fan’s dream-come-true, and more a nightmare wrenched forcibly into physical existence.

Some of these wouldn’t be so bad if they were amateur-made desserts that fans had whipped up in their own kitchens, for their own amusement. They’re far below the quality Japanese consumers expect in professionally made, store-bought sweets, though, even from such humble chains as Mister Donut.

▼ A side-by-side comparison of a Mister Donut press release photo vs. the Pikachu donut an actual customer was served highlights the huge cuteness gap.

Character-shaped food in Japan often elicits happy squeals of “It’s just too cute! I can’t bring myself to eat it!” However, Mister Donut has found itself faced with the opposite problem, as photos of dissatisfied customers’ Pikachu donuts have many saying “They’re just not cute enough. I can’t bring myself to buy one.”

In response, Mister Donut’s parent company, Duskin, has announced that it is suspending sales of the Pikachu donuts, sparing customers the trauma of their unappealing appearance, and also employees from the heartbreaking task of having to throw out garbage bags full of unsold, misshapen Pikachu heads.

While there are numerous problem areas, one Twitter user quickly zeroed in on a major one: the placement of the white section of Pikachu’s eyes. If they’re oriented towards Pikachu’s forehead, it makes him look disarmingly innocent, like he’s silently asking you to pick him up in your arms for a cuddle. In contrast, many of the Pikachu donuts have the white sections set dead center, creating the effect of a deranged Pocket Monster staring straight into your soul because he doesn’t have one of his own.

▼ The eyes are better here, but the ears look more like a dog’s.

Thankfully, in a move reminiscent of the post-beta patches of modern video game production, Mister Donut says the Pikachu donuts will still be releasing nationwide on their official launch date of November 16, with Duskin promising stricter quality control for the sweets, which are made by hand, not machine.

▼ This customer, trying to look on the bright side of things, described his Pikachu as having a “sexy mole,” but with the line dripping down from his mouth, it also looks like his face is splattered with gore after feeding on some unknown prey.

In the meantime, you can tide yourself over with some terrible Pikachu donut fan art

…or, if your hunger is more than you can bear, you can head over to Tokyo’s permanent Pokémon Cafe, which serves its own, non-terrifying Pikachu donuts.

Sources: Gogotsu via Hachima Kiko, Livedoor News/J Cast News
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where everything he writes is silently witnessed by the half-dozen Pikachu visors that sit in his workspace.